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Best and worst Halloween treats for kids' teeth: some healthy alternatives

Oct. 29, 2013
Dr. Kenneth Magid says a little common sense with regard to Halloween candy can help avoid traumatic injury to the teeth. Here, he talks about some the best and worst treats for kids’ teeth and suggests some healthy alternatives.

Halloween candy is magic candy.

Every Halloween, kids take joy in collecting candy and seeing how many great goodies they collected. Let your kids eat as much candy as they want on Halloween night, but the next day make sure it is out of the house. There are a number of places you can contribute the candy to, including great charities that will take the candy. Remember, candy is better in the garbage than in the mouth!

Healthy alternatives for trick-or-treaters

This year, look for fun alternatives for trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Small toys that are available in online catalogs are great options. This year, we are giving out Spry mints and gum, which help prevent decay (Sparx). But be sure not to give this out in large quantities, and don’t give it to very young children. Keep away from the dogs.

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Some healthy alternatives include:

  • Little packets of carrots
  • Pretzels
  • Bags of cashews

If you have to give out candy, real chocolate is far healthier and better for your teeth than other candies. Avoid sticky candies and sour candies that get their sour taste from acid, which helps dissolve teeth. Go for dark chocolate instead of Sour Patch Kids! Also avoid Fruit by the Foot. That candy is many things, but fruit isn't one of them. It’s like gluing sugar to your teeth!

Remember, eat as much candy as you want Halloween night and make smart decisions about the kind of candy you choose. Make sure all of the candy disappears the next day when the vampires are gone. And remember to be safe! Never eat unwrapped or unsealed candy. Although horseplay is part of Halloween, a little common sense avoids traumatic injury.


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Kenneth Magid, DDS, has practiced dentistry for more than 40 years. He is currently the director of predoctoral laser dentistry and associate clinical professor at NYU College of Dentistry and assistant director of honors esthetics. He has appeared on nationwide television and radio programs to discuss high-tech and cosmetic dentistry, including ABC and The New York Times. Dr. Magid lectures throughout the United States and Canada and is a contributor to many journals on topics including minimally invasive dentistry, laser dentistry, digital radiography, air-abrasion dentistry, 21st century dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Magid received his dental degree from the New York University College of Dentistry. Visit his website here.